MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Tuesday that Congressional leaders have agreed to tackle and pass a host of key measures before the Christmas break, including laws to purge unfair business practices, and to increase the take-home pay of workers in the private and public sectors.
“After our monthly meeting, we reached a consensus with the House of Representatives to enact at least eight or nine proposed measures before Congress takes a break on December 17,” said Drilon.
“We resolved to finish the priority measures, in recognition of their immense benefits to the public and the urgency needed to properly effect such legislation,” he added.
“For instance, we are bound to enact the bill that will raise the tax exemption ceiling of the 13th-month pay and other benefits from P30,000 to P82,000, so that the President will be able to sign it before the year ends,” said Drilon, noting that the House agreed to adopt the Senate’s version of the bill.
In the House version, the limit was pegged at P75,000.
Drilon said Congress will pass the Fair Competition Act “in order to promote economic efficiency in trade, industry and commerce through the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position, and anti-competitive mergers that distort and restrict competition.”
“Having a competition law will foster the competitive environment in our national economy, spur economic efficiency and innovation, and attract investments – all of which lead to lower prices, higher quality of products and services, and more choices for consumers,” explained Drilon.
He also noted that the House of Representatives will pass its version of Senate Joint Resolution 2 that seeks to expand the subsistence allowance of Filipino soldiers. “Our soldiers have waited long enough for us to help them in their daily expenses, and we intend to end their wait,” Drilon said.
The House is also expected to approve its own version of Senate Bill 2138 that seeks to strengthen the current structure of the Sandiganbayan.
Drilon, who authored the bill along with Senate Committee on Justice chairman Aquilino Pimentel III, explained that the bill will decongest the clogged dockets of the country’s anti-graft court.
Also to be passed within three weeks are bills that will establish the open high school system for out of school youth, amend the Fisheries Code, repeal a provision in the Revised Penal Code penalizing premature marriage, and authorize the sale of Zest Airways to Air Asia Philippines.
Lastly, Drilon said Congress will tackle the supplemental budget being requested by the Executive, explaining that since it is an appropriation measure, the House has to act on it first.
However, he assured that, once it gets to the Senate, the upper chamber will immediately scrutinize the proposed supplemental budget.
The Congress is also expected to pass and submit to the President for his approval the 2015 General Appropriations Act. (MNS)